CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Cheyenne community members are supporting a petition to have Angelina Harrison’s memorial displayed at Frontier Mall.
Angelina was a 16-year-old girl who was fatally shot while riding in a vehicle near the mall in January. The memorial, set up shortly after her death by family and friends, is on a small piece of land facing Dell Range Road, in front of the JCPenney store. It is decorated with items including balloons, flowers, stuffed animals and a Harrison family photo.
“It’s not an eyesore,” said Angelina’s mother, Amanda. “It’s not anything in a negative fashion. We make sure it’s kept up and it’s OK.”
Amanda says the mall initially allowed her family to set up the memorial as a temporary arrangement. A couple of weeks ago, however, she was informed by the mall’s management team that it must be taken down by Sept. 30. Although located in north Cheyenne, Frontier Mall is owned by Texas-based company CBL Property Management.
“I was told that they have a policy from their legal department that memorials can’t stay up for more than 90 days,” Amanda wrote in a Sept. 15 Facebook post. “I asked for a copy and was denied. This strikes me as odd because I have lived here for 40 years and there has never been a tragedy like this at the mall so I don’t know why there would be such a policy.”
On Sept. 15, Amanda launched a Change.Org petition to have the team make an exception for Angelina’s memorial. As of Sept. 21, it now has 2,437 signatures. Many petitioners in the public comment section expressed their approval for the memorial.
“I’m signing this because it’s the right thing to do,” petitioner Stephanie Hupke wrote. “You treat someone or something in the same respect as you would want.”
In addition to the petition, Amanda said she has been actively reaching out to CBL Management representatives.
David, Angelina’s father, said his daughter’s death affected the entire Cheyenne community, not just her family and friends. The memorial is a crucial way for the city’s youth to cope with and process the loss of another teenager.
“It’s giving them a place to feel close to her, to be able to sit and mourn and deal with it however they need to,” he said. “It’s more important than just it being a little piece of dirt in front of the mall.”